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Jeffrey Malins

Assistant Professor    

Ph.D., The University of Western Ontario, 2014
M.Sc., The University of Western Ontario, 2009
B.Sc., The University of Guelph, 2007


Cognitive neuroscience; Educational neuroscience; Functional neuroimaging; Reading development; Language development; Spoken word recognition; Multilingualism


My research focuses on the brain networks that support reading, spoken language processing, and attentional control. I use methodologies such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), EEG, and eyetracking to study how these networks overlap, diverge, and change over the course of learning. I also examine how different biological, cognitive, and environmental factors shape the connectivity of these networks. In my research, I work with numerous populations of learners, including school-age children, adolescents, and adults; individuals with reading, language, and/or attention deficits; and individuals who speak or read more than one language. As a mentor, I enjoy working with students from many different disciplines, including developmental psychology, cognitive neuroscience, education and learning sciences, clinical psychology, and communication sciences. Ultimately, I look forward to continuing to work with the GSU community to connect brain research with current practices in education in order to help individuals reach their learning potential.


Current Projects

I am currently using neuroimaging to better understand the foundation of cognitive skills in different populations of learners. For example, I recently helped develop an fMRI paradigm that simultaneously indexes the brain networks supporting reading and attentional control (Arrington, Malins, et al., 2019, Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience). I am now using this paradigm to clarify the biological foundations of co-occurring reading and attentional control deficits in children.


In addition, I am using neuroimaging to gain insights into the dynamics of learning. Using an fMRI reading task, I recently discovered that a certain amount of variability in brain activity may be beneficial for reading development (Malins et al., 2018, Journal of Neuroscience). Along with collaborators at Georgia State University, I am now characterizing the biological foundations of neural variability in order to understand why children show different degrees of response to phonologically-based reading intervention.

When studying language and literacy development, I think it is important to consider the role of diverse experiences with language. I am currently working with colleagues in Beijing to study the dynamics of spoken word processing in adult native Mandarin Chinese speakers who are learning English. I am also conducting experiments to evaluate how dual language experience contributes to the brain networks that support reading development in children.



Representative Publications

Arrington, C.N., Malins, J.G., Winter, R., Mencl, W.E., Pugh, K.R., & Morris, R. (2019). Examining individual differences in reading and attentional control networks utilizing an oddball fMRI task. Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, 38, 100674. DOI:


Malins, J.G., Pugh, K.R., Buis, B., Frost, S.J., Hoeft, F., Landi, N., Mencl, W.E., Kurian, A., Staples, R., Molfese, P., Sevcik, R.A., & Morris, R. (2018). Individual differences in reading skill are related to trial-by-trial neural activation variability in the reading network. Journal of Neuroscience, 38(12), 2981-2989. DOI:


Wang, X., Wang, J., & Malins, J.G. (2017). Do you hear ‘feather’ when listening to ‘rain’? Lexical tone activation during unconscious translation: Evidence from Mandarin-English bilinguals. Cognition, 169, 15-24. DOI:


Shuai, L., & Malins, J.G. (2017). Encoding lexical tones in jTRACE: A simulation of monosyllabic spoken word recognition in Mandarin Chinese. Behavior Research Methods, 49(1), 230-241. DOI:


Malins, J. G., Gumkowski, N., Buis, B., Molfese, P., Rueckl, J. G., Frost, S. J., Pugh, K. R., Morris, R., & Mencl, W. E. (2016). Dough, tough, cough, rough: A “fast” fMRI localizer of component processes in reading. Neuropsychologia, 91, 394-406. DOI:


Malins, J.G., Gao, D., Tao, R., Booth, J., Shu, H., Joanisse, M.F., Liu, L., & Desroches, A.S. (2014). Developmental differences in the influence of phonological similarity on spoken word processing in Mandarin Chinese. Brain & Language, 138, 38-50. DOI:


Malins, J.G., Desroches, A.S., Robertson, E.K., Newman, R.L., Archibald, L.M.D., & Joanisse, M.F. (2013). ERPs reveal the temporal dynamics of auditory word recognition in Specific Language Impairment. Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, 5, 134-148. DOI:



For a complete list of publications, please see:

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